From RAW to “RAWR!”

A little Lightroom 3 fun and gamery (Yes I just made up a word, deal with it!)

OK… where do we start… I suppose we are going to need an image!? Well it just so happens that I may have one kicking around at the moment… For the maximum effect here we are going to use a RAW file that I snapped on the weekend at Karekare whilst out with some friends!

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Sigma 10-20mm @ 10mm, 1/100 sec @ f5.6, ISO200
The first step for me is to get the detail in the BRIGHT part of the photo sorted out as well as sort out the colour balance… this involves dropping the WHOLE picture down by -3 on the exposure meter… This makes the pic look pretty dark for now, but all is ok… trust me… I choose to set the White Balance to SHADE as this gives you a good hit of orange into the pic…
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This makes the picture look really dark and nutso…

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Shade White Balance and -3 Exposure...
Next step is to address the horrible mass of black where once stood some rather pleasing rocks… so I like to use the ND Grad filter in Lightroom. I set up the filter to basically counter the drop in exposure that we subjected the image to to get the sky sorted out… here’s the settings:

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Settings for the ND Grad Filter
Which makes our picture look like this (I have captured the screengrab with the ND filter lines still there… 🙂

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ND Grad filter settings in place...
The pic is now starting to take a bit of a nicer shape and needs a few tweaks here and there to get the punchy, dreamy finished product that I am after! :)What we need is to now Boost the exposure back to -2… Recovery to 50%… Bring the BLACKS slider to 6 to make sure we aren’t losing any detail in the shadows… Bring the overall Brightness down to 10… Boost the Contrast to around 70… Bring in some Clarity, Vibrance and a teeny tiny dose of Saturation… 🙂

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Popping the pic and getting the tweaks you like in place.
Which makes your pic look something like this… 🙂

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Playing with a few minor settings to make the pic a bit more punchy.
Now I don’t really want to play around much with the sea or sun area as they are quite moody looking (which I like). So I will use the touch-up brush to brighten up the rocks a bit… Here’s the brush settings and the results of the brushing across the rocks.

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Settings for the Touch-up Brush.

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With the Touch Up Brush applied to the rocks.
And now a few plays with curves, vignettes and minor touch-ups to other areas – we get something like a finished product for your enjoyment.:)

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Voila... Not perfect, but you get the idea!

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